In 2020, INGABO FARMERS’ SYNDICATE initiated the “ZAMUKA CASSAVA PRODUCT” project to address the challenges farmers encounter in securing bank loans. Research revealed that although agriculture constitutes 27% of Rwanda’s production, only 6% of bank loans are allocated to this sector. In response, INGABO FARMERS’ SYNDICATE, in collaboration with FO4ACP, convened a meeting involving financial institutions, banks, farmers’ associations, and cooperatives. The objective was to identify and resolve barriers preventing farmers from accessing bank loans, thereby boosting their production capacity.

During the meeting, several financial institutions committed to partnering closely with INGABO FARMERS’ SYNDICATE to find sustainable solutions. This collaborative effort aimed to eliminate identified obstacles hindering farmers’ access to loans.

In 2021, CPF-INEZA, in partnership with INGABO FARMERS’ SYNDICATE, pledged support through the “ZAMUKA CASSAVA PRODUCT” program. An agreement was signed between CPF-INEZA and cassava farmers organized in cooperatives, facilitating access to a loan equivalent to Twenty Million Rwandan Francs (20,000,000 Rwf). This initiative aimed to enhance farmers’ production capabilities for sustainable development.

Under the “ZAMUKA CASSAVA PRODUCT,” CPF-INEZA staff engage directly with farmers in the field. They educate farmers about the program, encourage them to open bank accounts, and facilitate the submission of loan applications by cooperatives to CPF-INEZA for evaluation and disbursement.

The project assigns specific roles to each partner:

  1. INGABO FARMERS’ SYNDICATE provides training through “Farmer Field Schools” and promotes agricultural insurance.
  2. Cassava Farmers’ Cooperatives (KOUMBU, MBAKUNGAHAZE, and Ruhango Cassava Cooperative) promote the program among their members and seek markets for their harvest.
  3. CPF-INEZA evaluates loan applications from eligible cooperatives, disburses loans, and monitors their use by beneficiaries.

To date, 94 cassava farmers from Ruhango, Muhanga, Nyanza, and Kamonyi districts in the Southern Province have benefited from the ZCP loans. The initiative has started to yield positive results, with loans being repaid. Furthermore, due to successful mobilization efforts, additional financial institutions have joined the program, reducing interest rates on agricultural projects from 24% to 18%.

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